Beavers' dam leaks, but LATTC holds off Seahawks, 108-106
Robert Hollar, Contributor
The game Friday night between LA Trade Tech College (11-2) and LA Harbor College (7-7) was not supposed to be close. It was not supposed to be exciting. It was not supposed to whip the crowd into a deafening frenzy. Regardless, the two teams produced an overtime gem with LATTC winning 108-106.
The win is the 11th straight for the Beavers.
Neither team had played a game in 2019, and both struggled offensively in the opening five minutes. However, as the teams settled back into competitive play, they began trading points. The shootout brought seven first-half lead changes.
Neither team worked the ball much around the perimeter, but Trade Tech was particularly intent on driving the ball from one rim to the other.
Meanwhile, with five minutes left in the first, LA Harbor quietly began mixing in the 3-pointer. The result was a 42-34 Seahawk lead at the half. For Trade Tech, a lack of 3-point-attempts was less concerning than the disparity in first-half shooting percentage: it shot 34.1% from the field compared to LAHC's 52.9%.
#25 Jacob Washington put the Seahawks on his back in the first. He single-handedly accounted for much of his team's high shooting percentage going 7-for-8 from the field and 1-1 from three-point-range. He led both teams with 33 points in the game.
LATTC matched 6-foot-7 center Fredelin Dela Cruz against Washington in the second half, a decision that paid dividends for Beaver head coach, Richard Wells. Cruz effectively shut down Washington and also contributed on the offensive end with 25 second-half points. The freshman brought his team back to within two points on an and-one offensive rebound play with 13 minutes remaining.
Cruz had to rest briefly in the middle of the second and LAHC took advantage, extending the lead back to 62-56 with 11:30 on the clock. Cruz re-entered and promptly hit a 3-pointer to halve the deficit with 10:07 to play.
A minute and a half later, the Seahawks coughed up the ball at half court and LATTC broke the other way on a 3-on-1. Each Beaver on the break touched the ball in the paint, and #24 Mark Chin scored his second basket on as many possessions to give LATTC its first lead of the second half, 69-67.
The Seahawks fell behind by seven points with less than two minutes remaining, but LATTC responded poorly to the full-court press late. LAHC executed two steal-and-score plays to tie the match 93-93 with :33 seconds remaining. The game entered the 5-minute overtime 95-95.
LAHC spread the ball in order to get to overtime. Teammates #1 Henry Johnson and #15 Raphael Jalnaiz tied for a game-high 6 assists.
Trade Tech came out sloppy in overtime, turning the ball over twice in as many minutes. The self-imposed errors kept their lead at three. That allowed Seahawks guard #30 Kaito Ohara to tie the game 102-102 with his wide open corner three. He had only two points to that point and was simply forgotten by the Beaver defense.
Still, being by far the superior team, LATTC was able to afford its mistakes. A fast break layup put the beavers up by four with 12 seconds left, sealing the game.
The Beavers will look to recover from the too-close-for-comfort performance in their next game, a 6 p.m. tip off at Compton Wednesday, Jan 9. That game shapes up to be a thriller on paper, for whatever that's worth.